Topics in Ho Morphophonology and Morphosyntax
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Ho, an under-documented North Munda language of India, is known for its complex verb forms. This dissertation focuses on analysis of several features of those complex verbs, using data from original fieldwork undertaken by the author. By way of background, an analysis of the phonetics, phonology and morphophonology of Ho is first presented. Ho has vowel harmony based on height, and like other Munda languages, the phonological word is restricted to two moras. There has been a long-standing debate over whether Ho and the other North Munda languages have word classes, including verbs as distinct from nouns. Looking at the distribution of object, property and action concepts, this study argues that Ho does, in fact, have word classes, including a small class of adjectives. Several new morphological analyses are given; for example, what has previously been called 'passive' is here analyzed as 'middle'. The uses of the middle -oʔ in Ho overlap with uses documented for other middle-marking languages, suggesting that this is a better label than 'passive'. Ho traditionally marks aspect in the verb rather than tense, especially for transitive verb constructions. Several aspect suffixes follow the verb root. Ho is developing a periphrastic past tense construction with the past tense copula form taikena. Also, the combination of perfect(ive) aspect suffixes and the transitivity suffix -ɖ always gives a past tense interpretation, to the extent that -ɖ may be re- grammaticalizing to past tense. Three types of complex clauses are discussed in the dissertation: complement clauses; relative clauses and serial verb constructions. Like many South Asian languages, Ho has productive serial verbs and several serialized verbs are grammaticalizing to become more like auxiliary verb constructions.